On September 26, 2012, culture change advocates from around the world gathered in Reykjavik, Iceland to listen to presentations about The Eden Alternative. They shared the challenges they face in bringing culture change to long-term care settings and amazing success stories.
Dr. Thomas and his wife, Jude, joined the conference along with 170 other individuals. Our hosts, Rannveig Guðnadóttir and Guðbjörg Guðmundsdóttir, did an outstanding job of welcoming everyone and organizing the event.
They even planned a tour of their beautiful country for guests. The day was a bit rainy and windy, but this did not stop the group from having fun, while exploring amazing waterfalls and geysers. We felt fortunate to receive an invitation to have lunch with Elders in their home. Stories were shared, even with so many different languages being spoken. In the evening, we enjoyed the group’s diversity again and gathered together to sing “Happy Birthday” to Bill and Jude Thomas’s oldest son, Zach, in approximately six different languages.
Speakers for the conference were:
USA – Dr. Bill Thomas
Denmark – Aase Porsmose,Karin Dahl, and Kitt Lysén Pedersen
Iceland – Rannveig Guðnadóttir, Ragnhildur G. Hjartardóttir, Friðný Björg Sigurðardóttir, and Helga Guðrún Erlingsdóttir
Faroe Island – Margaret Johannesen
United Kingdom – Liliana Stark
Austria and Germany- Renate Wapplinger and Silke Nachtway
South Africa – Rayne Stroebel
The next day, we (or I) met with the Eden Alternative International Regional Coordinators to explore new Eden Alternative offerings, address challenges, and share stories. The real gift was that we could spend time together face-to-face and get to know each other better.
For information on The Eden Alternative in Iceland, please visit their webpage at www.edeniceland.org .